Kings add Xavier Cooks to NBL campaign
The Sydney Kings have signed Boomers prospect Xavier Cooks for the rest of the NBL season, releasing Kuany Kuany.The Kings announced on Tuesday they had released Kuany Kuany and immediately signed Cooks after the 24-year-old was released by French side SG Strasbourg.
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Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson will be hoping mateship beats money when his side take on a star-studded Sydney Kings outfit in Friday night's top-of-the-table clash.
The Kings boast arguably the greatest squad seen in NBL history, with Andrew Bogut, Kevin Lisch, Brad Newley and Xavier Cooks joining internationals Casper Ware, Jae'Sean Tate, Didi Louzada, and Deshon Taylor.
Teams are only allowed three imports, but the Kings have four internationals on their list because Louzada was signed as part of the NBL's Next Stars Program.
It's the same program that allowed Illawarra to sign future NBA star LaMelo Ball.
Lisch to bolster NBL leading Sydney Kings
Sydney Kings NBL point guard Kevin Lisch is fit again after a lengthy lay-off and ready to return for Friday's top of the table clash in Perth.Lisch participated in Sydney's first two games of the season but hasn't played since October 12, when the two-time league MVP fractured his ankle in the win over Adelaide.
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The sheer strength of Sydney's roster has attracted criticism, with Adelaide coach Joey Wright cheekily claiming the Kings' roster is worth $4 million more than any other NBL team.
Kings more than just NBL money men: Bogut
The Sydney Kings are three wins clear of their nearest rivals, and they have the chance to extend that in Friday night's top-of-the-table clash in Perth.The Kings (11-1) sit three wins clear on top of the NBL table, and they have the chance to extend that gap in Friday night's clash with the second-placed Wildcats (8-5) in Perth.
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The NBL enforces a soft salary cap, which allows clubs to spend as much as they want, as long as they pay a luxury tax that can go towards funding other teams.
The Kings (11-1) are three wins clear of their nearest rival Perth (8-5).
It's the biggest gap after round nine in NBL history, and the Kings are hot favourites to win the title.
But the Wildcats aren't counting themselves out, especially after winning four championships under Gleeson despite not always boasting the most talented squad.
Gleeson hopes his tight-knit squad can do the same this season.
"That's been our strength over the last couple of years at the Wildcats," Gleeson said.
"We've probably been less talented than other teams out on the floor, but we've certainly played better as a team, and that's been able to win a couple of championships along the way."
Gleeson chose his words carefully when peppered with questions about the Kings' talent-laden squad and whether the rules should allow a team to build a team that powerful.
"They (the Kings) have done a good job. We can't do anything about it," Gleeson said.
"Any time you have four imports and two league MVPs it's pretty handy, and the other guys are doing pretty well too.
"They're the rules, and we've got to play by them."
The Wildcats suffered a shock 11-point loss to Adelaide at home last week.
Gleeson wants his charges to make amends at RAC Arena on Friday night.
"We're playing the top team," Gleeson said.
"If the juices aren't ready to go for this game as a player ... it's time to think about doing something else for your profession."
Lisch will return for the Kings for his first game since injuring his ankle in round two, but new signing Cooks (knee) is still unavailable while he builds up his fitness
Wildcats extend NBL winning run to four .
A big second half from Bryce Cotton has given Perth an eight-point NBL win over Brisbane, taking the Wildcats' winning streak out to four.Cotton dropped 16 points after halftime on Saturday night to guide the reigning champions home, 86-78, against the Bullets at RAC Stadium.